Challenging a Virginia DUI Blood Test 

Challenging a Virginia DUI blood test is possible as a defense in cases. There are a number of different ways where a DUI arrest can yield a blood test. First, if a person is arrested under suspicion of a DUI and the officer suspects that drugs are a component of whatever it is that has impaired the driver, then they will automatically default to a blood test because there is no way for a breath test to analyze drug content in a person’s body. Breath tests can only check for the presence of alcohol. A proficient attorney can provide more information about blood tests and DUIs.

Further Process of Blood Test

If, however, a person is charged with a DUI and an officer only has probable cause to suspect that alcohol is present, then the breath test is the favored option according to Virginia law. However, if the breath test is, for some reason, not available or if the person is physically incapable of delivering a sample into the machine, then the officer has the ability to order that person to submit to a blood test in Virginia DUI cases.

An example of how that might happen is when a person is involved in an accident and that person requires medical treatment and need to go to a hospital. The officer is not required to wait for that person to be treated and released in order to then take that person to get a breath test. Instead, they can conduct a blood test because the person is not around the breath machine and therefore the breath test is not available. Another example might be if the person has a severe breathing disorder such as asthma or some other disease that prevents them from delivering enough air into the machine to create a valid sample. Under those circumstances, the officer can extract blood from the person in lieu of giving that breath test in a Virginia DUI case.

Where Will Blood Tests Occur

Blood tests generally occur at the hospital because most of the cases where blood is extracted are cases in which the person is being treated in a hospital for some condition that arose from an accident, resulting in the DUI arrest. However, if the person is arrested, taken to the jail, and it turns out that either the machine is not working or the person is physically incapable of delivering a sample, then the blood can be drawn at the jail itself.

How Accurate Blood Tests Are in BAC

Generally speaking, most people agree that blood tests are considered more accurate than breath tests. However, that is not a hard and fast rule. Blood testing is a highly complex scientific endeavor that can and very often does result in errors being made, either by the machinery itself or by the human who is conducting the test. This is how an attorney can challenge a Virginia DUI blood test.

Accuracy of Blood Tests in Determining Drug Impairment

Blood tests can determine the presence of drugs in a person’s body. However, that only solves one part of the equation. The government, in order to successfully win a DUI trial where drug involvement is considered a factor that led to impairment, must prove that the level of drug in that person’s body is so high that it renders that person incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Simply testing for the presence of drugs is not enough. They have to be able to tie that together with an expert witness who can testify about the toxicology of that drug in that person’s body and how it would affect their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Reasons to Refuse a Blood Test

There are few situations where a person is deemed to have properly or reasonably refused a blood test. The only example one that rarely comes up which is if a person is a hemophiliac and if blood is taken, they run the severe risk of being hurt and/or are unable to stop bleeding. Similarly, if a person lacks the ability to stop bleeding once a needle is introduced into their body, that is another reason to refuse. Under those circumstances, a person might be able to refuse a blood test, but that is the only circumstance under which it is justified.

How a DUI Lawyer Challenges Results

The first step hat an attorney takes is examining the test itself. They need to look at the science behind how it was done and the specific data that was generated by the test itself. The science of blood testing is called gas chromatography and an attorney is able to look at the very specific details. This includes how and when the machine was calibrated and certified, the testing process itself, the specific values that were generated by the gas chromatography, and the training that the specialist received. In almost every case, an attorney will need to employ the use of an expert witness to come to court to explain a flaw if one existed. If you have more questions about challenging a Virginia DUI blood test, contact a skilled attorney.